Today, we are making fermented sour cabbage. This is a popular ingredient in north Chinese cuisine. You can use it to make dumpling and steamed bun filling. I also like to put it in braised meat. You can use the pickled brine to flavor noodle soup or hot pot soup. There are tons of ways to use it.
The Science of Fermentation
Before we get started, let’s talk about the science of fermentation. All plants are covered with live lactobacillus and other bacteria. If you put them in a salt solution and an anaerobic environment, they will metabolize the sugar in the vegetable and produce lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This process will give the vegetable a characteristic flavor and suppress the bad bacteria that cause spoilage and disease from growing.
What can you cook with this sour cabbage?
- Use it as a filling for dumplings, steamed buns, wontons. Check this Jade Cabbage dumplings
- In this cabbage roll recipe, I used fresh cabbage but you can replace it with fermented cabbage. The distinctive pickle taste will elevate the flavor of the dish.
- You can make stir-fries with it, which I will have a new recipe and share soon.